Lust Stories 2 | Cast: Kajol, Amruta Subhash, Vijay Varma, Neena Gupta | Directors: R Balki, Konkona Sen Sharma, Sujoy Ghosh, Amit Ravindernath Sharma | Hindi | Netflix
An old lady who speaks of the joys of orgasm, camouflaging it in a Mount Fuji metaphor. A housemaid who uses her employer’s home as a sexual escape. A successful tycoon who has a chance encounter with his former flame. And the wife of a feudal lord who lays an elaborate lust trap. Lust knows no colour, no caste, no class, not even mortality. It is the lifeblood that pulses through our social network unacknowledged and unrecognised. When repressed, it can damage. What is a suppressed urge in a single working woman is a privilege for her hardworking housemaid short of space and privacy in Konkona Sen Sharma’s sharply observed social comment. What is a violent urge in the former raja of a decrepit palace is a way for his wife to freedom in Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s dark segment. And in Neena Gupta’s colourful grandmother in R Balki’s short is the coyness and hypocrisy of the so-called liberated society. Lust unites, divides, embarrasses and embraces. Kajol expresses volumes with her eyes and her face, making dialogue redundant. Tillotama Shome, fast turning out to be the go-to-actor for any difficult dramatic role, goes to places very few women in Hindi cinema have gone before. Neena Gupta stands out for her naughty banter and Vijay Varma and Tamannaah Bhatia throw themselves into their parts with welcome vigour.
Why Watch it? This is no namby pamby take on lust. High time we grew up
The Night Manager Part 2
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sobhita Dhulipala | Creator: Sandeep Modi | Hindi | Disney+Hotstar
“This is Arabia and I am the Lawrence of Arabia.” How many actors in the India film industry can say that cheesy line with flourish, and get away with it? A handful, among them Anil Kapoor. He strides across the second part of the ITV series adaptation, monstrous one minute, intimidating his girlfriend, and charming the next minute, flattering the Myanmar army generals who are buying his arms. Aditya Roy Kapur keeps pace, snapping out of his customary indolence to play a soldier/hotelier/spy. Kapoor plays Shelly Rungta, a billionaire businessman who deals in death, Kapur, playing hotelier Shaan/Abhimanyu, is forever two steps ahead of Shelly’s shenanigans. The cast of quirky characters returns, with Tillotama Shome as an obsessed RAW agent, Lipika Saikia Rao, Joy Sengupta as her hapless boss Danish Khan and Saswata Chatterjee as Shelly’s friend and aide BJ. As things start going wrong for Shelly, he is unusually slow in figuring out the enemy within. There are some spectacular scenes of weapons going boom in the night. “Door se dekho to jung kitni khoobsoorat hoti hai khaskar unke liye jo ladna nahin, ladana chate hain (If you see it from a distance, war looks so beautiful, especially for those who want others to fight),” he says while watching the night sky light up in the middle of the desert. Whether he is chomping on a cigar, sizing up his opponent, or ravishing his beautiful girlfriend, Kapoor is a must-watch. The writers do well in changing the series’ geo-strategic impulses, limiting the action to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Why watch it? One of those rare adaptations of a Western show that is as good as the original